FMC EXPANDS CHINA TRADE PROBE
The Federal Maritime Commission has expanded its China trade
investigation by requesting information from China Shipping Container
Lines, a new entrant in the Asia/U.S. trades.
The carrier will be required to supply information similar to what the
FMC ordered China Ocean Shipping Co. to file when the agency initiated the investigation
in August 1998.
The information will deal with a number of Chinese practices, including
approval of liner services, the establishment of branch and subsidiary offices, providing
vessel agency services and other matters, the FMC said.
The information, according to the FMC, "will assist the commission in
determining whether and to what extent Chinese laws, rules or regulations lead to
conditions unfavorable to shipping in the U.S./China trade, and aid the commission in
developing any further actions that may be appropriate." Under the law, the FMC
can choose from a wide range of sanctions, if the agency determines that unfavorable
conditions exist in the U.S./China trade. These include fines of up to $1 million per U.S.
port call or barring an offending nation’s vessels from calling at U.S. ports.
Like COSCO, the FMC said China Shipping Container Lines is
majority-owned by the Chinese government "and is thus a controlled carrier."
The information must be filed with the FMC by Jan. 18.